Mortgage rates remain low again this week helped out by reemerging doubts about the stock rally and economy as a whole. The benchmark thirty-year, fixed-rate stands just above 5% with no points and the fifteen year is just below 4.50%. While paying a point was buying a full ½% discount to the rate in the first quarter of the year, that premium has narrowed significantly and a point today is only buying a 1/4% rate improvement.
I will be the first to agree that the mortgage industry was extremely under-regulated for years and feel that lack of oversight, among other things, was largely responsible for the collapse of the housing market and subsequent financial crisis we now find ourselves in. But two of the most significant changes we’ve seen in years, both designed to protect consumers and reign in unscrupulous lenders, have done more to hamper the housing recovery than provide better consumer protections.